Another addition to the series – meet Lauren aka @themummidwife on Instagram. Lauren gives us an insight into her work and journey as a midwife in London.
Tell me about you, where you are from and how long you have been a midwife
Hello! My name is Lauren, from London and I’ve been a midwife for 8 ish years.
Why did you decide you wanted to become a midwife?
I have always had an interest in pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood so it felt like the natural choice. Although veterinary was a very close second!
How did you find the training?
I enjoyed some areas more than others. I loved the birthing centre as well as being out in the community seeing expectant and new parents in their own environments. It was tricky juggling assignments, exams alongside working 13 hour shifts, but I didn’t have children then so it was easier to manage (I salute and admire people studying midwifery who have kids – you are a.m.a.z.i.n.g!)
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There is no one particular highlight, only that I am in a privileged position to be able to provide the care and support that I can to women and birthing people during such a momentous chapter in their lives. I find the determination and capability of expectant parents incredible – I LOVE that they take control of their pregnancies and birth. Families can be faced with an overwhelming amount of information, and are not always supported in their choice by some, yet they strive for the birth THEY want, despite the barriers. They are my ‘highlights’ and my inspiration.
What have you not liked so much?
Lack of continuity of care, lack of good quality breastfeeding support, work politics, high level of *unnecessary* intervention and sadly hearing how some parents are still being coerced into vaginal examinations, made to lay on their backs in bed if they don’t want to and so on.
Tell me 3 qualities that make an excellent midwife
Empathy, courage, kindness (although with kindness it’s crucial to call out untoward attitudes and actions).
There has been a lot of awareness raised in recent months and years about the plight of black and brown women having babies. What do you think we can do as midwives to help reduce the now “4 x more” and “ 2 x more” stats?
The fact that Black, Asian and minority ethnic pregnant women and people are more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth, compared to white women and birthing people is devastating. As midwives and birth workers, we have a responsibility to implement change. Myself and others need to recognise our own bias’, use our privilege to speak out against injustice, and to listen to black and brown people’s experiences. We have a duty to provide clear, accurate information, and to break down any potential barriers, such as language or additional health support, to ensure that the woman / birthing person is in control of their experience. Black and Brown people are offered 20% off Birth Options Consultations where we discuss birth rights and options, without personal opinion or judgement. I am thankful for campaigns such as Five X More. I will continue to listen, learn and implement positive change to help eradicate maternal health disparities in the UK.
What is a typical day like at work for you?
With a baby and a toddler in the house at the moment (due to Covid) life is pretty busy! No two days are the same. Some days I will have Birth Options consults, breastfeeding support, and antenatal class to teach all in one day / evening. Other days I have just several breastfeeding support consults and follow ups. I also spend a lot of my time in the evening researching to ensure I’m up to date with the latest, most reliable research. I would love to return to the birthing centre once I have some free time.
Do you have any interesting birth stories that stand out?
Not an ‘interesting’ birth story as such, but witnessing my first ever birth on my very first placement – I was in total awe and truly amazed. Just WOW!! Not only had a baby been born, but a mother too. I thought to myself, this is the ultimate privilege to be present during such an extraordinary and precious chapter in a person’s life.
Give me a few random facts about yourself!
– Mama of two babies and a shining star in the sky
– Had an ectopic pregnancy in 2018
– I’m an Antenatal Teacher, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and KG Hypnobirthing Instructor
– I am an only child
– My final year midwifery placement was at a maternity unit in South Africa.
– Super crazy cat lady!
What tips do you have for any prospective student midwives?
Find yourself a good mentor, ask questions – no question is silly, speak up for yourself and others, chat with Independent midwives as well as NHS, read up on work by Sara Wickham, Rachel Reed, Prof Amy Brown and the wonderful Sheena Byrom. But most importantly respect and support women and birthing people’s choices without bias or judgement.
Lauren is a Midwife, Antenatal Teacher, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), qualified KG Hypnobirthing Instructor and co-founder of The ChildBirth Group. She provides expert education to expectant and new parents through her channels www.themummidwife.com and www.thechildbirthgroup.co.uk. You can follow Lauren on Instagram where she posts positive birth videos and provides antenatal education www.Instagram.com/themummidwife